BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Both Cal State Bakersfield basketball programs came into their second round of conference play from different directions. The men were looking to bounce back while the women were hoping to continue their stride.
With a week for the men to reflect on their loss to the Cal Baptist Lancers, Coach Rod Barnes noticed that the team hadn't been contributing off the bench as much as they'd done in the beginning of the season.
Not only did that happen in their recent win over the UMKC Roos, with the bench scoring 41 pts, but Justin Edler-Davis had a 25 point night.
A guy who Barnes just had a conversation with ahead of their third conference game saying that he's never witnessed a player work so hard in practice but not see his shots fall in a game.
"You're going to be in my book and he laughed at me and said, 'For a good part of the book or a bad portion of the book'," Barnes reflected on what he told Edler-Davis during a week off from playing in a game.
"I said it depends on how the season ends which part you are going to be in, but I've never seen it. He makes shots in practice, he's in here all the time. I just keep believing, and I want the story to end like, man, it happened because I've never seen it before."
And while the men were looking to change some things, the key for the women was to keep a perfect streak at home going.
Sitting at 2-0 heading into their home game against the Roos with plenty of options on offense, Coach Greg McCall spoke on dangerous his team is when their center in the paint, Vanessa Austin, is the one with the hot hand.
"We want her to be that, how Shaq was with the Lakers, and how Shaq has been throughout the league. Shaq was a dominant player. He might not have been the best player on the floor but he was always dominant, that's the great thing about this team. I've been saying it all year long, you're not going to get the same person scoring all the time," McCall said.
Austin would have a 16 point and five rebound effort in the ladies third win in the WAC, sitting 3-0 in conference play.
So, the moral of this story is, listen to what your coach has to say.